Each time we get vacation all together - me off of work, Hubster and the boys out of school, all at the same time - we feel that we have to make the most of it, because we never know when, or even if, it will ever happen again.
Okay, fine. Going to St. Louis, Missouri, may not exactly be "making the most" of a vacation for some people, but for us, it absolutely is. We had a goal when we moved to Iowa that each year, we would visit one of the four big cities that are close to us: Chicago to the east, Omaha to the west, Minneapolis to the north, and St. Louis to the south. And after this week, our goal is complete!
I love being the tourist. I enjoy playing the tourist in my own town, my own state. It doesn't take much for us to have fun. That's why, even though there was no tropical temperatures or sandy beaches, this was still a great adventure for us.
There was City Museum, which everyone we asked about St. Louis said we had to go to. When I was doing research about places to visit, I couldn't ever find out that much about this place. People I asked never told me much either, saying it was just kind of hard to explain. Really? Well, after going there, I can say, Yes, really.
Even after 6 hours of running all over the place, I'm not exactly sure what to say. It's a little bit of Hoarders meets Swiss Family Robinson, in that it's a place for kids to climb, run, and hide, build out of things recycled from the city. (Hubster says it's more like someone was sniffing glue and then decided to build a children's museum. That might be a little more accurate.) It has the world's largest pencil and a 10 story slide. And a giant whale.
There was Forest Park and the St. Louis Zoo. I'm such a huge fan of these free city zoos. This zoo was huge! And beautiful! And even if we had to spend most of the day wearing our winter coats (because even though St. Louis is south of us, it's not that far south), we had a fabulous day, full of elephants, hippos, tigers, and sea lions.
And there's the Arch. What tourist trip to St. Louis would be complete without a trip to the Arch? Although, after all my reassuring Bug that he would be just fine in the little tiny tram car that takes you to the top, I'm the one that almost freaked out on the thing. After all, I was putting my life and my family's life in the hand of 1960's engineering. Which apparently is just fine, since we got to the top and back down just fine.
The Arch was my favorite part. It was so much more beautiful and impressive than I thought it would be. It even was worth the nearly 3 hour wait.
We ate at Ted Drewes and Amighetti's Bakery at The Hill.
And now, with all corners explored, we are left to come up with some new adventures for next year. I have a feeling we are up for the challenge.